Bellator featherweight champion Pat Curran injured, out of Bellator 73 title defense

Pictured: Bellator featherweight champion Pat Curran (center) with Bellaor CEO Bjorn Rebney (left). Curran will be out indefinitely after suffering a broken orbital yesterday. Photo via Bellator

Well there goes the neighborhood.

Bellator 73 was ramping up to be one of the most exciting events of the summer, what with a featherweight title fight, a bantamweight tournament final and a light heavyweight Summer Series tournament final, but the promotion just lost a ton of star power for the time being.

That's because Bellator Featherweight Champion Pat Curran has been forced from his upcoming title defense against Patricio Freire, according to ESPN.com.

Curran apparently suffered a fractured orbital bone in the third round of sparring Tuesday morning at his gym, just 10 days out from his fight. "Paddy Mike" explained his feelings to ESPN:

"It's an incredibly frustrating injury, especially to happen so close to the fight, but these things happen. I can honestly say I'm in the best shape of my life, but injuries happen and once I heal up, I'm going to continue to train and come back stronger than ever to defend the Bellator featherweight title."

So what happens now?

The promotion stated that Curran's first defense will be delayed for several months. The bantamweight tournament final between Marcos Galvao and Luis Nogueira will take the top spot on the card. Light heavyweights Travis Wiuff and Attila Vegh will now be the co-main event as they battle for the right to challenge reigning Bellator light heavyweight champion Christian M'Pumbu.

Curran initially won the title after coming out victorious in last year's featherweight "Summer Series" tournament. He faced Joe Warren at Bellator 60 earlier this year, destroying him via vicious knockout to claim the title.

With the delay, the featherweight division has ground down to a standstill.

Patricio "Pitbull" will be waiting when Curran returns as he initially won a shot at the belt in early 2011 but an injury opened the door for Curran to leapfrog him and win the title. On top of that, Daniel Straus recently won the season six featherweight tournament earlier this year and he's now on standby for a title shot.

Hopefully, Curran's recovery will be quick. If not, the list of fighters promised a title shot will continue to grow.

How are you taking the news?

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